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How to Stay Safe Around Farm Machinery

Updated on April 7, 2015
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Missing Link is originally from rural Ohio. He currently lives in Hillsboro, OR. with his Wife and two Sons.

Every year, many people are either injured or killed in accidents involving farm equipment. This article will tell you some ways to avoid being a statistic in this regard.

Many accidents involve tractors. When spending hours on the tractor and going up and down row after row it is easy to get drowsy. With the sunshine, fatigue, monotony, and the soothing vibration of the tractor, it is easy to nod off. This is when tragedy will strike. Shut the tractor off and walk around a little, splash some water in your face or go into your home and have some coffee, a mountain dew, doctor pepper or, a nap.

Also, don't get the tractor on too much of an incline...rollover accidents kill people every year. Let the tractor cool down a bit before refueling. Many fires have been started by refueling a hot tractor. In general, be aware of others around the tractor or who may approach...especially little kids.

Power take off shafts (PTOs) are very dangerous...especially without the protective cover. NEVER work around a PTO shaft that does not have the safety cover. A PTO shaft connects the tractor to different types of farm machinery. The shaft rotates at a very high rpm which enables the piece of equipment to operate. This shaft can easily grab a hold of a loose piece of clothing and quickly wrap you around the shaft and leave you mangled and/or dead. My father was grabbed once this way and grabbed ahold of the corn crib just as he was grabbed. His bib overalls were stripped off him in much less than a second and wrapped around the shaft. The shaft in question did not have the safety cover.

Many kinds of rotating or conveyor belt types of farm equipment can get slowed up or plugged altogether by trying to absorb too much material at one time. Don't push too much material into an opening at one time or an obstruction can take place. Many have died pushing, pulling, or kicking excess hay or straw into or out of a bailer only to have the bailer grab them by the sleeve or pants and pull them to a terrible death. Put the tractor in neutral, set the brake and, disengage the power take off shaft. Once off the tractor use a long handled pole to manipulate the obstruction in question. If need be, turn of the tractor all together. Being in a hurry or being lazy in a situation like this will get you killed.

I knew a lady who was working around a piece of farm equipment. It chopped and carried grass/hay etc. up a chute and into the silo. It became obstructed as a result of too much chopped grass being fed into it at one time. She kicked at the obstruction to redistribute it. The machine suddenly reengaged and grabbed her by the pant leg. It pulled her in, cut her to pieces and carried her remains up the chute and into the silo. I was not there but neighbors heard her blood curdling screams.

My brother once was trying to fix a rotary hoe. He had it lifted by hydraulics via a tractor. He stupidly got under the hoe while it was lifted to work on it. The hydraulics failed and down came the hoe upon him. One of the big teeth on the hoe went completely through his thigh. Using his superhuman strength and a rush of adrenaline he was able to bench press the hoe just enough to roll out from underneath of it. His screams were horrible. He tried to make it down the road to the house but collapsed into a ditch. He was taken to the hospital and did fully recover.

It is true you can do everything right and still get hurt in a farm accident. Working around farm machinery is inherently dangerous. If you stay alert, adhere to safety practices and use common sense, you will greatly reduce your chances of injury or death.

Have you ever personally known someone who was hurt or killed by a piece of farm equipment?

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